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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kevin Pietersen receives libel damages from Specsavers..

The innovative human brain can outsmart technology ~ most times….

Heard of ‘libel’ (n) -  to publish in print (including pictures), writing or broadcast through radio, television or film, an untruth about another which will do harm to that person or his/her reputation, by tending to bring the target into ridicule, hatred, scorn or contempt of others. Libel is the written or broadcast form of defamation, distinguished from slander, which is oral defamation. To uphold the right to express opinions or fair comment on public figures, the libel must be malicious to constitute grounds for a lawsuit for damages. Minor errors in reporting are not libel. Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, or traducement—is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group etc., Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be false and have been made to someone other than the person defamed. A person who defames another may be called a "defamer", "famacide", "libeler" or "slanderer".

All Cricket lovers know [some would criticize too…] the ‘Hotspot’ - an infra-red imaging system used in cricket to determine whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad. Hot Spot requires two infra-red cameras on opposite sides of the ground above the field of play that are continuously recording an image. Any suspected snick or bat/pad event can be verified by examining the infrared image, which usually shows a bright spot where contact friction from the ball has elevated the local temperature. Where referrals to an off-field third umpire are permitted, the technology is used to enhance the on-field umpire's decision-making accuracy. Where referrals are not permitted, the technology is used primarily as an analysis aid for televised coverage.

The Cric world is abuzz with the news of Kevin Pietersen receiving libel damages from Specsavers.  It is reported that England batsman Kevin Pietersen has accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over an advert which implied he might have tampered with his bat. Opticians Specsavers used a photo of Pietersen in their "Should have gone to Specsavers" adverts in August, and on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. The company accepted the 33-year-old did not behave in the manner suggested.

Specsavers is an international company ~ a global retail chain  providing a trusted eye care service, affordable glasses, contact lenses and hearing aids  to a number of countries in Europe and across the globe.  According to their website their  range of glasses feature an incredible variety of styles, including the latest designs from some of Europe’s top fashion houses, and all  frames come with top quality PENTAX lenses. The advert – part of the “Should’ve gone to Specsavers” series which uses topical events to highlight the brand – featured a picture of Pietersen alongside the statement "'Bat tampering' in the #Ashes? Apparently Hot Spot should've gone to Specsavers.”

It followed claims in the Australian media that some players were wrapping silicone tape around their bats to avoid the technology – part of the much-discussed Decision Review System - which purports to detect the slightest of nicked edges that may have been missed by an umpire. Pietersen’s solicitor Louise Price said the advert published on the company's Twitter account and Facebook page in August, as well as in newspapers and magazines was a "serious and defamatory allegation”.

Specsavers Optical Group Ltd withdrew the campaign. It apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused, agreeing to pay substantial damages and legal costs.In a statement the company  is quoted as stating : “During the 2013 Ashes series we published a 'Should've Gone to Specsavers' advert which suggested that Kevin Pietersen may have tampered with his bat in an attempt to prevent Hot Spot technology working. We did not intend to imply this suggestion.” The batsman was incensed in the summer when Australian network Channel 9 – which is due to broadcast this winter’s return series Down Under – linked his second innings dismissal at Old Trafford to long-standing questions over the technology.

Even though there appeared to be the sound of a connection between bat and ball a Hot Spot review failed to find any evidence of contact. Despite the contradiction Pietersen was given out anyway.  Doubts have been cast on the system by England captain Alastair Cook [time and again British can doubt the systems ~ but if it is Dhoni or India or Asian teams for that matter – it is defiance; not capable of understanding the newer technologies or pulling their weight to beat the accredited system…… think of DRS !!]

Pietersen, tweeted at the time: “Horrible journalism yet again! My name brought up in hotspot crisis suggesting I use silicon to prevent nicks showing! Such hurtful lies.“I am never afraid of getting out! If I nick it, I'll walk. To suggest I cheat by covering my bat with silicon infuriates me. How stupid would I be to try & hide a nick when it could save me on an LBW appeal, like in 1st innings where hotspot showed I nicked it.”  Newspaper reports further suggest that Pietersen had said on Twitter that he would be donating the money to charity. At the height of the row the England and Wales Cricket Board demanded an apology from Channel 9 and Warren Brennan, who adapted Hot Spot technology for cricket, said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) should consider banning all bat coatings. Hot Spot cameras employ thermal imaging technology similar to that used by helicopter pilots in Afghanistan. Both England and Australia support the introduction of Snickometer which monitors for sound during this winter’s grudge series. The ICC has called for an independent assessment which could be complete in time for the first Test in Brisbane.

On a different note, ICC has confirmed that the inventor of Hot Spot, Warren Brennan, raised concerns with them this week over the effect of bat coatings on the technology, which detects edges using thermal imaging, but that he was warned against suggesting players were deliberately trying to cheat the system. Channel Nine also reported on Thursday that Brennan had raised his "serious concerns" with the ICC about flaws in the system.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Oct 2013.

Courtesy : various sources including

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